Eclipse Anular

Eclipse Anular (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That day in September would appear shadowed by a solar eclipse…a massive one…probably the longest on record, maybe lasting an entire year or more. You likely don’t remember that event though. That’s because it probably only took place in my world. It specifically coincided with my mother’s death. You see, she was my sunshine; and my world revolved around her.

That same year, I was enlisted as a soldier. It’s true. I remember my basic training well. There I stood at attention, in the funeral home, over my mother’s coffin.  My sergeant hovered over me, offering specific directives for our upcoming battle and my survival tactics. I felt so unprepared for my mission – palms sweaty, knees knocking. Despite any lack of experience or stature on my part, Sgt. Joe took his job to prepare me very seriously.

Directives for my mission?

Smile when people speak to you. Let them tell you their memories of your mother. They don’t want to see you cry.

Stand tall and be brave. You’re my little soldier now.

One clasp of a heavy hand on my shoulder with a quick squeeze of reassurance, and I was unwillingly recruited into my new role. One big swallow to push back the tears that were burning in my eyes and throat, and I picked up my assigned weapon and wielded it. Most soldiers give their weapon a nickname. I’d give one to mine later in life – I’d call it denial.

I smiled. I listened. I nodded. I went numb. People told me things about my mother – like she was the prettiest corpse they’d ever seen; she was going to be an angel watching over me. ‘That’s just ridiculous,’ I thought bitterly (to myself, of course, since I was obediently smiling and nodding at them on the outside). Still, even today – as I come upon her age of death – I wonder if people will think I appear that pretty when I’m in my coffin. Oh, the vanity of life!


Another week, another Trifecta challenge (only different, as always). During the week, we’re allotted up to 333 words, so I was greedy – I used every last one of them.  I found a couple of different places to use the prompt (at the alpha and omega points – the beginning and the end), and I decided to do a little creative non-fiction writing this week – with this added thought:

Most especially in the dark hours,
when our lives appear so greatly eclipsed –
that’s when we can become most aware
of the slivers of abiding light
reaching out to touch us.

The challenge word also appears above, in my final quote – still in the Trifecta-mandated 3rd definition. So there are your clues to this week’s word (and usage). Did you get it?



1a : to be or come in sight <the sun appears on the horizon>
b : to show up <appears promptly at eight each day>
2: to come formally before an authoritative body <must appear in court today>
3: to have an outward aspect : seem <appears happy enough>



I Salute You for Your Service (

14 thoughts on “Eclipsed

  1. Bonus points, imho, for using the word in the ending thought as well as the captivating story. I like the angel watching over you, and you thinking that’s ridiculous, even then. I was in my 30’s when my mother died, and I can still relate to much of this. The things people say in an effort to comfort – I will never forget them. And never repeat them. Nice work!

  2. What a thing to say to someone at a funeral… or make them consider at a later date of their own demise. Nice read though 🙂

  3. Now that’s what is known as excellent writing! You should be very proud of this effort……it is outstanding!

  4. In an attempt to spare you all from redundancy, I’ll simply reply here. First, thank you for your sweet sentiments – this comes directly from the heart of that little girl who still resides within. Secondly, please know that in no way am I trying to be critical of comments made by my father or any of those adults present. I’ve come to understand, through many life experiences, that death comes differently and is processed differently for and by all – and I’ve come to appreciate any well-meaningness of support in such times, no matter how awkward (because our mortality is an uncomfortable topic to us). Lastly, thank you for allowing me to share the awkward thoughts of one experiencing the trauma through a child’s eyes and ears. You all have been most gracious. Peace & love, -jody

  5. The struggle between expectations here was spectacular – from child to man to soldier to “killer” and back to child. Terrific write, Jody!

  6. So heartbreaking and so beautifully written. It makes me ache for the child you were then – and makes me admire the woman you’ve become even more than I already did. Thank you for sharing this piece of yourself Jody.

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